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Ellen Piercy - After setting a challenge she had no idea she could achieve, crossing Svalbard on ski

Renata Chlumska  - Adventure athlete who became the first Swedish and Czech woman to climb Mount Everest and in 2005 did a circumnavigate of the lower 48 States of the United States by her own power.

Ellen started to get into adventure in her late 30s. By day she work as an engineering, by night, she dream of adventure.

In 2017 she wanted a new, big, scary challenge and decided on an arctic expedition - crossing Svalbard.

Ellen has never been anywhere that cold before and she didn’t’ know how to ski! She didn’t know if the challenge that she had decided on would even be achievable.

The Svalbard Expedition was meant to go ahead in 2020, when Ellen was 42. It was postponed from 2020 to 2021 and again to 2022.

To keep herself motivated, during the delays and wanting to focus on building her endurance, she set herself a more local project – the Cheshire Challenge to walk all 25 long distance paths in Cheshire totalling 1,500km.

In January 2022, Ellen had her sabbatical booked, and found out the Svalbard crossing would be going ahead in April.

During this podcast Ellen shares more about the challenge, the lessons learned and provides top tips and advice to help you with your next adventure.

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Show notes

  • Who is Ellen?

  • Age 45….

  • The concept of identity

  • Describing herself pre and post Svalbard

  • Calling herself a cold adventurer!

  • Who is Ellen pre-expedition?

  • Dealing with imposter syndrome

  • How adventure has changed her life

  • Not knowing if she would be able to do the challenge

  • “Maybe I can do this sort of stuff”

  • The mindset shift that has happened

  • Dealing with setback after setback

  • 42 the second, 42 the third etc

  • Doing a polar training course in Norway

  • Covid Times and being able to work from home

  • What’s your plan B…..

  • The Svalbard Expedition April 2022

  • A 10 day crossing across the main island from the East to the most northerly town in the world

  • The route - 130km/100 miles

  • Being part of a team of 5, plus the guide

  • The pulks and the kit

  • Polar Bears, glaciers, mountain passes and an enormous ice cave

  • Structure of the day and the daily routine (melting water, packing up, ski and break time, tent life)

  • Thinking about doing her Mountain Leader Qualification

  • Tent mates, group dynamics and roles

  • Peeing and pooping outdoors

  • Fitness and training

  • Costs

  • Completing the challenge and what happened afterwards

  • Reflecting on the challenge and having time to process

  • Getting Covid and being knocked for 2 months

  • Plans for 2023

  • Newland Expeditions Guided polar ski expeditions to North/South Poles, Greenland, Svalbard and Norway.

  • How to connect with Ellen

  • Final words of advice for working women who want to have more adventures


Social Media

Instagram @randogirl42

Facebook @EllenRandoGirl

Twitter @RandoGirl42


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